4. How long will my case take to complete?
Our work will be done quickly and as fast as possible. If you submit your information online or via telephone, you can in many cases sign your Complaint on the date of your first appointment at our office or by mail. Assuming you meet all the requirements for an uncontested divorce, and your spouse timely signs a Waiver of service of process and notice of further proceedings, we can in most cases file your Complaint, the Waiver, Affidavits and Final Decree in the Court within as little as three business days of the signature of your Complaint. The specific length of time for the Court to sign your Decree depends on factors which are out of our hands, such as the efficiency of the Court itself.
Publication cases are different, and because of required wait times, generally take 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 months to complete. Service by Sheriff (if your spouse refuses to sign and return the Waiver) can take as much as an additional 3 weeks. Attorney ethics require us to refrain from making specific promises about the Court process since it depends on the actions of others not under the control of the attorney. We, however, pride ourselves in providing a speedy convenient service which does not require you attend a court hearing or lose a day from work. Please consult us for a time estimate applicable in your case and have ready if possible any property settlement agreement you might have previously executed.
5. Do I need a witness to get divorced?
Yes. Virginia law requires that your separation be corroborated generally through a witness who is not your spouse. This corroboration can be obtained by Affidavit, so you and your witness will not be inconvenienced by scheduling a hearing.
6. Do I have to have a written agreement to get divorced?
Maybe. If you are filing for a divorce based on a 6-month separation, and have no minor children with your spouse, then Yes, you must a written agreement signed before the divorce papers are filed with the court.
If you are filing for a divorce based on a separation of 1 year or more, even if you have children, then No, you are not required to have a written agreement to get divorced. But you may want one to divide your property or debts, determine child custody and the amount of child support, and/or to determine or waive spousal support (alimony).
7. What is a “Waiver”?
A “Waiver of Service of Process and Notice of Proceedings” is a form accepted by the Court. The Waiver is mailed by our office to your spouse, along with a date-stamped copy of the Complaint for Divorce. This Waiver does two things: it Waives formal notice of the divorce case, meaning that the Sheriff does not need to take a second copy of the Complaint to your spouse. This Waiver also waives formal notice of other necessary steps in the divorce case: notice of filing papers with the Court or notice of hearing, again meaning the Sheriff does not need to “serve” upon your spouse a formal notice of these events.
Signing the Waiver is voluntary on your spouse’s part. The Waiver should be signed by your spouse, notarized and returned to our office. Once we have that Waiver, we will file the Affidavits and Final Decree with the Court, and await the judge’s signature granting you a divorce. If your spouse signs the Waiver, we will send him/her a courtesy copy of the signed Final Decree of Divorce once we receive it from the Court.
If your spouse refuses to sign the Waiver, the only other means of obtaining “service of process” (notice of the divorce case) is to have the Sheriff take a copy of the Complaint to your spouse, or, if your spouse lives outside of Virginia or cannot be found, to publish this notice in the newspaper. These alternate forms of notice will increase the time necessary to obtain a final divorce.
8. Why are your fees so low?
Since its inception, our law firm has had a commitment to provide the highest level of service at an affordable price. Our prices can rarely be matched by our competitors, thereby benefiting the clientele. We charge less because of this commitment, a streamlined efficient procedure, and the sophisticated use of software which reduces our costs. Our prices include our costs incurred for filing the papers with the court, and for sheriff service or publication if needed.